When spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs, numerous sources of reactive oxygen species and nitrogen species may be active within first minutes or hours and even reactivate few days later. Free radical formation and lipid peroxidation (LP) have been described as an important mechanism in the beginning and accelerated progress in the development of diverse pathologies, importantly in those related to central nervous system. The compromise of molecules and cellular structures due to the oxidative state of microenvironment in SCI may determinate survival or apoptosis of resident and infiltrating cells and polarization toward an inflammatory response, which lead to an extension of damaged tissue and loss of neuronal function, or a regulatory/regenerative response. The investigation of new antioxidant agents and their action at a molecular level begins to reveal mechanisms that, if correctly modulated, promise an improvement in recovery of functions with respect to conventional pharmacological therapies. In this chapter, we will review the general mechanisms of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, those antioxidant treatments in experimental development and clinical phase, as well as their achievements and limitations.
Part of the book: Spinal Cord Injury Therapy